The Declining Significance of "The First"

From over at The Root, Spike Lee declares a new era:

The Root: Black politicians in New York and New Orleans--Gov. David Paterson, Rep. Charlie Rangel, Rep. William Jefferson, Mayor Ray Nagin--and beyond are under fire, justifiably or not. What are your thoughts on that? 

Spike Lee: Well, Gov. Paterson didn't take $10,000 [laughs] It's not just New York. Look at Kwame Kilpatrick in Detroit. There are a whole lot of incidences where black politicians really reneged on their commitments and promises to black voters who voted them into office. It's sad. And I think African Americans are sophisticated enough to vote beyond skin complexion. I think we're past the point of--we have elected officials. 

I was just talking with my uncle the other Sunday who was torn between rooting for the Saints and the Colts for the Super Bowl. He said, "I'm gonna root for the Colts because they have the black coach." I said, "You know, two black coaches already won the Super Bowl. It's not a big thing anymore. My man, Mike Tomlin, won in Pittsburgh, and Tony Dungy already won with the Colts. You gotta go with the Saints." He said, "That's right." So, a lot of these firsts, they're not firsts anymore. So we have to vote who's going to do the job and because it's right for the city, the state and the country. As I said before, we've been betrayed by African-American politicians, so they're not going to automatically get the vote anymore, even if they're running against the white candidate.

To which, I say Right On. Postracialism is my right to respect Donavan McNabb as one of the great quarterbacks of our era, and still hope that Keith Brooking cleans his clock. The few times the Cowboys played the Oilers in the Warren Moon era, I just had to cover my eyes. 

I keep going back to something one of the commenters said a few weeks back--it's about the transition from "race" to "ethnic group." And then hopefully to American.